The Department of Education’s final Gainful Employment rule pushed yearly costs past $157 billion in 2014. In addition to the compliance burdens, the rule adds close to seven million paperwork burden hours. The Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) published the other notable rulemaking this week.
The Department of Commerce yesterday released the first estimate of economic growth in the 3rd quarter (July - September) of 2014. The headline was 3.5 percent growth (at an annual rate), a healthy clip and certainly in excess of what I and most analysts had anticipated. (I did not think the growth rate would break 3.0 percent). What happened?
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has stopped the 180-day informal clock on both the Comcast-Time Warner Cable transaction and AT&T's acquisition of DirecTV. This temporary halt should not be read as a mark against any of the companies. The FCC review process is far more complicated and uncertain than similar review processes at either the Department of Justice (DOJ) or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), even though all aim to determine how a purchase will affect the market. The institutional structure of the FCC is quite different than antitrust agencies, resulting in extended reviews and unpredictable outcomes, which have detrimental effects on consumers. Setting clear guidelines for this process should be among the top priorities of any Telecommunications Act rewrite.
The domestic oil and gas boom is a game changer for energy-producing states and U.S. trade. States that lead in energy production have performed much better throughout the recovery than those that import the majority of their energy from other states. Over the period from 2011 to 2013, the U.S. trade imbalance fell $72 billion while the trade balance in energy increased $96 billion, resulting in an increase to GDP growth of roughly 0.3% annually.
A nerd skirmish has broken out over the budgetary impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Normally, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is the gold-standard for budget estimates. In 2012, CBO estimated that the ACA would reduce the deficit over ten years. Underpinning that estimate are a host of other estimates related to the economy as a whole, specific sectors of the economy, the behavior of individuals and other actors; all projected over the next decade. Suffice to say, this projection is subject to uncertainty.
There once was a Fed that did QE II
But got no growth for me and you
It then doubled its bet
Until it tapered out, yet
They still don’t know what to do
Health care spending varies widely across the United States and in ways that are not entirely understood.
The Census Bureau reported yesterday that the fraction of Americans who own their homes was 64.4 percent in the third quarter, the lowest level since the first quarter of 1995.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently released a combo pack of (supposedly annual) reports on the government’s overall regulatory paperwork burden. A review of the reports reveals an 828 million hour paperwork mistake, 13 ACA-related requirements in violation of the Paperwork Reduction Act, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as the worst offender in the government.
The New York Times was out with its review of the ACA to date yesterday. I think a fair reading of the article suggests that we, the readers, are supposed to answer: “On balance, yes.” I’m not so sure.